Two state legislators are asking the state Department of Public Health to ensure it has the proper expertise when reviewing potential wells for the Ponde Place apartment proposal.
The request echoes the concerns of the regional health director.
State Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, and state Rep. Gregory Haddad, D- Mansfield, wrote a letter aiming to “encourage” the DPH to seek out a hydrochemical expert if the department does not have the expertise.
The two legislators said they want the DPH to ensure it has a hydrochemical expert as it reviews Ponde Place’s proposed well sites because of their proximity to the University of Connecticu’s former landfill and chemical pits.
Keystone Co., of Avon, which is developing the project, submitted applications last month to the DPH and state Department of Public Utility Control seeking approval for wells for the complex, which would be located on Hunting Lodge Road.
The most recent proposal would build housing for 648 people, with a total of 156 units and 18 attached townhouses for postgraduate and junior faculty members at UConn.
Rep. Haddad and Sen. Williams said in their letter dated May 20 that they share concerns raised by Eastern Highland Health District Executive Director Robert Miller in his letter sent earlier last month.
Miller said he is worried the two state agencies do not have the proper expertise to evaluate the potential impact of the proposed wells in relation to the now capped landfill.
He said Keystone’s proposed production wellfield would be 250 feet from the nearest private well and 700 feet from the plume associated with the landfill and former chemical pits.
UConn capped and closed the landfill and pits in 2005, a process that began 13 years after the state Department of Environmental Protection investigated the sites and issued a consent order – which went unheeded until a grassroots group calling itself Mansfield Common Ground brought it to the media’s attention.
As part of the clean-up process, UConn had to install monitoring wells and must routinely check the wells over the next 30 years.
Sen. Williams and Rep. addad said in the letter the chemical pits and landfill already caused problems for the surrounding area and the DPH needs to ensure the proposed wells would not lead to more problems.
“Those of us who are familiar with the UConn landfill and the former chemical pits recall the social and environmental impacts felt by the surrounding community,” the two legislators wrote in their letter.
“The DPH must proceed cautiously and judiciously with the goal of preserving the integrity of the landfill cap while ensuring an adequate water supply free of contamination for local residents,” they said.
Posted June 21, 2011 as edited and added to by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan
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